Word Associations Yikes

You never know where people’s minds are going to go. Example:

 I was riding in a car with two 17-year-olds when the subject of profiling came up, especially racial profiling. They happen to be young black males which means they have thought about this subject once or twice along the way. At one point one of them said, “Of course there is the argument that profiling wouldn’t exist without SOME basis in people’s experience.”

“Hmmm,” I said back and thought right away how whenever I see a guy in a mullet I right away think three things. 

  • Drives a pickup.
  • With a flag on it.
  • Owns a gun.

I almost didn’t say this since it made me sound like a total labeler myself. Having said it, however, I then tried to move on to something more innocuous.

“So take mustaches. What do you guys think of when you see a guy with a mustache?” 

Now me I’m thinking:

  • Guy from the Village People.
  • Guy with trouble letting go of his youth.
  • Lone holdout, like David Crosby.

But do you know what these two said? Literally in unison?


“Where do you get pedophile?!” I asked, completely caught by surprise. Were they thinking of the creepy murderer played by Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones? (See the chilling trailer for that movie here.  Of movies older than that? Of a thousand episodes of Law & Order? CSI? Special Victims Unit?

But they couldn’t say. Born in the early half of the 90s, they swim in different waters than the ones we oldsters wiggle our fins in. Cultural associations like this fascinate me. The person who named her salon “Hair Today” could not possibly be old enough to know about the second half of that old adage, which is “Gone Tomorrow” or she would have chosen another moniker, wouldn’t she? I mean, come here and lose your hair? Is that really the message she chooses to convey? It’s a wonder we can get together on anything. It’s a wonder there even IS a thing called consensual reality.

Sigh.  But maybe this is a thing we can all agree on when we look at images of Mark Wahlberg in the old Calvin Klein ads:  Even before Boogie Nights and The Fighter,  the guy had an amazing body. The ad agency that dreamed up this campaign sure knew a thing or two about word associations!

So maybe it was the title of that post.I wrote last week and not the ‘threesome’ mentioned in the comment someone made about it that got Facebook refusing to include a link to it. Some people said they thought it could have been naming the thing ‘Little Orphaned Undies’ that sent up red flags in the ‘mind’ of Facebook, suggesting as it does, what? Black market children maybe, playing off that other shocking ad from the early 80s where a practically pre-teen Brooks Shields is telling the world that nothing comes between her and her Calvins? Remember that whole series?

Man! Did the 1980s mark the beginning of our long slide into the salacious? This clip below just makes you blush for us all, doesn’t it? To hell in a handbasket, the whole lot of us, mustachioed or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s